Local lawmakers discuss concerns at legislative breakfast - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Local lawmakers discuss concerns at legislative breakfast

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Legislative Breakfast in Peoria Legislative Breakfast in Peoria

During a legislative breakfast Friday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle put away their differences and broke bread in hopes of working together to address issues facing the city of Peoria.

Some lawmakers opened up about their fears that several of those issues won't be addressed in 2018.  

City, County, and State officials gathered at the Peoria Gateway building, tapping into topics like infrastructure, mental health funding, and economic growth.

One politician highlighted his doubts about revenue for the state coming from cannabis, a topic that's made headlines recently both nationally and locally.

"There's always the possibility of taxing recreational marijuana. Other states have done that. I don't think we're gonna see that pass this year, although I will say there's bipartisan support for it." explained Illinois, Democratic Senator Dave Koehler.

According to him, overall the state isn't being governed properly by Governor Bruce Rauner, an opinion he says, contributes  to many problems. 

"We'll see if he for once actually proposes a balanced budget which he hasn't done to date. This has been a failed governor. I'm sorry but he just has not taken the reigns of what a Governor should do and work with the legislature. He's been campaigning since day one and that's not what we need." Koehler added.

Considering the upcoming elections for Governor, House and Senate, there's been recent emphasis on campaigning and pointing out the actions of opponents. One such example is a campaign ad published by Illinois gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives who calls out Gov. Rauner for "betraying Republicans." 

In the ad, a woman thanks Rauner for allowing taxpayers to fund multiple abortions. A man wearing a dress credits Rauner with allowing transgender individuals to use bathrooms opposite of their birth gender and a person wearing a red bandana posing as a gang member thanks Rauner for making Illinois a sanctuary state for  "immigrant criminals"

Despite varying  positions on politics, concern emerged from the breakfast about lawmakers' abilities to focus on what matters - the people.

"I do worry that we will see perhaps a focus on campaigns and elections and not the hard work that still remains in front of the legislature." said Illinois State Rep Ryan Spain.

Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to give a budget address this week where some of the concerns about bipartisan collaboration brought up at the breakfast, could be addressed.

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